In mid-June I wrote about the drastic award chart devaluation announced by the Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus program, which was supposed to kick in for redemptions made starting September 1, 2014.
When I first saw the new award chart I said “hmm, this doesn’t look so bad, what’s everyone complaining about?” And then I quickly realized that the award chart was going from displaying roundtrip redemption costs to displaying one-way redemption costs, and the rates remained roughly the same — ouch!
For example, an award ticket between “Asia 1” and North America presently costs 264,000 miles roundtrip, while under the new chart it would cost 264,000 miles one-way. That’s right, the saver award cost between Asia and the US would be 528,000 miles roundtrip. That’s insane!
Part of what made this change so ridiculous is that it’s not like Thai has the world’s best premium cabin products, or anything. If they want to incentivize business travelers to choose them over Singapore, Cathay Pacific, etc,. they should have at least a competitive loyalty program, if not an industry leading one. It’s a small price to pay to try and attract business travelers.
Well it seems that Thai Airways heard the complaints from Royal Orchid Plus members loud and clear, as they’ve indefinitely delayed the devaluation and are keeping award rates as is:
Royal Orchid Plus announces that there will be no changes to all current Award charts.
The Royal Orchid Plus new award charts which were previously announced to take effect on 01 September 2014, and the New Tier Bonus Miles for Platinum and Gold members scheduled to begin on 01 August 2014, both will not commence for the time being.
Changes to the Royal Orchid Plus Award levels in the future will be announced to members with advance notice to use their miles with confidence and convenience.
At Royal Orchid Plus we will continue to develop a dynamic and changing program that will both reward and engage you.
*For Award travel redeemed and ticketed between 17 June and 29 July 2014 in anticipation of the new Award structure, award tickets remain valid for one year from the date of issue. Should a member who redeemed and ticketed during this period wish to change flight dates, fees for this service are waived during the validity of the Award ticket.
Not only are the rates remaining the same, but if you redeemed miles in anticipation of the changes, they’ll even waive the service fees if you want to make any changes. Kudos to Thai Airways on this one!
It just comes to show you that sometimes feedback does work, and the airlines reconsider even major program changes. This one was a no brainer, in my opinion.
Thai Airways 777 at Phuket Airport
(Tip of the hat to Chris)